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Friday, March 19, 2010

Rangers fall to Blues, 4-3, as Henrik Lundqvist has off night

NEW YORK – The usually-reliable Henrik Lundqvist had an off night at the worst time for the Rangers.

Lundqvist faced just 16 shots – a season-low against the Rangers - but the Blues won, 4-3, Thursday at Madison Square Garden. Three of the goals looked stoppable.

Meanwhile in Boston, the Penguins beat the eighth-place Bruins, 3-0, leaving the ninth-place Rangers (31-31-9) three points out of the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot with a critical game Sunday at Boston. The 10th-place Thrashers also won Thursday, leaving them tied in points with the Rangers with 71.

So instead of making a strong playoff push, the Rangers find themselves in a 2-4-2 rut. And the Bruins, who also don’t play until Sunday, still have a game in hand.

The Rangers are in serious jeopardy of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

Wade Redden tied the game at 3-3 at 7:11 of the third period, the much-maligned defenseman’s second of the season and first in 58 games. But Paul Kariya regained the lead for the Blues 1:13 later, tipping in T.J. Oshie’s centering pass for his 400th career goal.

The Rangers frustration reached its apex early in the third period as the Blues’ Erik Johnson flipped the puck over the glass for a delay of game six seconds in and Roman Polak followed suit 43 seconds later. Yet the Rangers managed just one five-on-three shot in 1:17 and just one skating one man up.

Ty Conklin made 26 saves for the Blues (33-28-9).

Yet coach John Tortorella just laughed when asked before the game whether he had any fears the Rangers would look past the Blues toward Sunday’s showdown.

“I know our guys are smart enough and I respect them well enough that they can’t look by anything,” Tortorella said. “You look by something, the next one might not mean anything.”

With this three-game homestand concluded, the Rangers now play eight of their final 11 games on the road. On the plus side, six of those games are against teams currently below the Rangers in the conference standings, including two games apiece against the Islanders and Maple Leafs.

The Rangers certainly looked like a team looking ahead as Brad Boyes snapped a shot over Lundqvist’s glove at 1:10 of the first period on the game’s first shot.
Oshie and David Backes both hit the post for the Blues in the first period but the Rangers led 2-1 at the first intermission.

The Rangers weren’t so lucky in the second period as the Blues scored two soft goals on six shots.

Defenseman Mike Weaver, who had gone 184 games without a goal, tied it at 2:21 on a shot from inside the blue line that Lundqvist missed. Johnson made it 3-2 at 5:45 with an unassisted power play goal, a flip from the right boards that trickled through Lundqvist’s five-hole after Redden tripped Boyes at 4:32.

Meanwhile, for the third straight game since his benching, Sean Avery was a key factor.

He goaded Eric Brewer into knocking him down at the Blues’ crease as they battled for position at 5:15 of the first period and with Brewer in the penalty box for roughing, Ryan Callahan tipped in Olli Jokinen’s slap shot to tie the game at 1-1 at 5:52. Avery also drew a tripping penalty against Weaver at 14:45 of the first period, though Lundqvist was forced to stop two shorthanded breakaways.

Marian Gaborik made it 2-1 at 17:08 of the first period with just his second goal in eight games as his wrist shot rose off Carlo Colaiacovo’s stick and handcuffed Ty Conklin, who tried to backhand it with his glove.

Brandon Prust, listed at 5-foot-11, re-energized the Rangers after Boyes’ goal as he fought – and beat – Brad Winchester at 2:53 despite giving up six inches and 36 pounds.


  1. I have to say that this blog is awesome, it's absolutely AMAZING.

    I'm Swedish and I've been huge fan of Henrik since ... well, for as long as I can remember actually. I played in a girls icehockey team (I'm a girl born 1993) when I lived in Sweden but unfortunately I had to stop when I moved to Germany 3 years ago to attend an international school.

    However, im still really into ice hockey and I'v been reading your blog. I LOVE HENRIK AND I LOVE YOUR BLOG!
    Please, please keep up with it! One of my biggest wishes is to meet Henrik in person... I read you've met him four times? How is he? Where did you meet him? Maybe you could write about it in the blog?

    Thanks again for having this blog!

  2. Can I just say that you're doing such a fantastic job with this blog! I'm a Henrik fan in Quebec, Canada. I check this religiously and I hope you'll keep up the good work. ;) Thanks for all the articles and pictures.

  3. Thank you for the positive feedback! I'm so happy you enjoy the blog. I plan to continue with it as long as I possibly can. Since you are Swedish, if you ever come across any type of news or interviews of Henrik from the Swedish media that I might not come across- feel free to send the links to me and I will post them. As for meeting Henrik, I met him three times after games at MSG, and once at an autograph singing at a store called Last Licks on the Upper East Side. He is very nice and personable (and hot) in person.

    I stayed outside MSG after a game and a bunch of players came out and I was able to take pics with them. Eventually, Henrik comes out (he is always the last one out) so I'm siked, thinking I'll finally get a pic with him- I got his autograph first, then I ask for a pic and he says yes so my dad goes to take the pic and he's like "there's no flash, I don't think it worked" so I look at the camera and it's like all dark so we asked if he would take another and he said yes, so we did and it still wasn't working so like midway through yet ANOTHER attempt at it I was like "omg" and Henrik laughed! lol He was nice and posed about three times before he said he had to go. So, I go home disappointed and buy a new camera asap because I had tickets to another game a week later.

    After the game, I waited in the same place and he came out that way again. I get his autograph again and then I ask him for a pic and he says yes and my dad tells him "do you remember us from last week, the camera broke" and he said he did remember. So, we took the pic and he was like "did it work this time?" and it finally did. The most recent time I met him was this October and we bought it up again and he laughed.

  4. Thank you, Jess! I really appreciate all the positive feedback. Thank you for reading and I hope you will continue to do so, as I will try my best to be the number one source for all things Henrik Lundqvist!

  5. OH MY GOD... I can imagine standing there and waiting for him to come out. I would seriously have passed out when he finally came! He is just so drop-dead gorgeous its unbelievable!!!
    I would've gotten SO nervous when the camera wouldn't work... you're so lucky you can get to meet him!
    I wanna go to New York just to watch a game and stand out there waiting for him to come out afterwards. I think I'm obsessed with Henrik, haha.

    And for sure I can send links if I see any Swedish news or videos or something. Good that you're planning to continue!! I check it every day and I instantly feel happy when im reading about him or watching videos of him :D <3

    Just curious: how many readers do you have?
    AGAIN, its really a great blog! Thanks!! :)

  6. You should def come to New York for a Rangers game! and to see the city as well. A lot of people also wait for him before games, he arrives at MSG around 4:30 and signs for people.

    Thank you again! and I'm not sure how many readers I have, but I do now that I have gotten over 15,000 hits. If you spread the word and share the link to any Henrik fans you know, that would be great.